BIO Health Caucus 2020 
Speakers & Moderators


Rich Bendis, Founder, President and CEO, BioHealth Innovation, Inc.

Rich Bendis is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, angel investor, investment banker, innovation and technology-based economic development leader, international speaker and consultant in the technology and healthcare industries. He also serves as the founding President and CEO of Innovation America, a national public-private partnership focused on accelerating the growth of innovation economy in America; also the founding Chairman of The Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation; founder and CEO of Innovation Philadelphia; and asked to serve as the Co-Chairman of the AURP BioHealth Caucus.

As a recognized expert in the field of the innovation economy, Rich has served on numerous distinguished boards and task forces including the White House U.S. Innovation Partnership Advisory Task Force, the Small Business Innovation Research Committee, the National Association of State Venture Funds Board; State Science and Technology Institute and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneurial Institute as a National/Regional Judge and Entrepreneur of the Year winner. 

Rich has provided global consulting services to over 16 countries and 22 states, several cities and regions, along with international organizations including the United Nations, NATO, UK Trade and Industry, European Commission, French Embassy, the German Marshall Fund, The Canadian Consulate, METI, AKEA, the International Science Parks and Innovation Expert Group and other global entities. Rich serves on Governor Hogan's Life Science Advisory Board. He was voted one of the Top 5 Speakers on innovation and creativity, voted 4th best Innovation Blogger, a 2017 most influential Marylander award and a 2017 Maryland innovator of the year award, in addition to hosting the BioTalk podcast series.

Christian Braemer, Founder and CEO, Benefunder

Founded in 2013, serial entrepreneur Christian Braemer, is the founder and CEO of Benefunder, an online marketplace bringing together philanthropists and researchers; serving as a marketplace, attracting new money, lowering costs, and increasing transparency. Benefunder works with wealth management firms, to connect donors with leading researchers across the nation to fill the innovation gap. Through its Charitable Innovation Fund, Benefunder combines the disciplines of wealth management with philanthropic giving for the benefit of innovation across all fields of study.

Last year, individuals accounted for roughly $240 billion in charitable giving and less than 3% was allocated to research. Benefunder believes this represents the single largest opportunity to significantly increase research funding in the United States. Benefunder has already aligned with more than 200 researchers from top universities, such as UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco , Stanford, UNC, MIT, Harvard, UT Austin, USC, University of Florida, CMU, Cornell, Purdue, and CU Boulder.

Prior to Benefunder, Christian founded Joe Media, a national free wifi network that later merged with another founded organization, OpenEye Global. OpenEye Global hosted a team of experienced visual designers, media strategists and technologists that developed award winning solutions for some of the world’s leading brands. Christian’s earlier experience included additional founded organizations, a former financial advisor with both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, and sergeant of the Danish Army.

Kelvyn Cullimore Jr., President and CEO, BioUtah

Kelvyn served for 25 years as president and CEO of Dynatronics Corporation, a publicly traded medical device manufacturer. Currently, he serves on the company’s board of directors. Kelvyn served on the board of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association in Washington D.C. and on the board of trustees for the Utah Technology Council. From 2004 to 2017, he served as the first mayor of Cottonwood Heights.

Brian Darmody, JD, Chief Executive Officer, Association of University Research Parks (AURP)

Brian Darmody was announced as AURP CEO in February 2019 and in this new role Brian will lead AURP into new initiatives including expanding membership, international partnerships and funding in order to build out additional member benefits.  Over the course of the year, Brian will be winding down his activities at UMD where he currently serves as Associate Vice President (AVP) of Corporate Engagement at the University of Maryland (UMD).

At UMD, Brian is responsible for developing the overall university strategy for corporate relationships, as well as the development of projects and policies to support these initiatives centrally and through the colleges and schools on campus of the University of Maryland. Previously, he was the University’s AVP for Corporate and Foundation Relations in the Division of University Relations, AVP for Research and Economic Development, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Development, Director of State and Federal Relations in the President’s Office and has served in the university’s legal counsel office. He serves on national and state boards, including: Fraunhofer USA, the Maryland Economic Development Association, and the Maryland Tech Council. 

He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore and he received his bachelor degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Steven Ferguson, Special Advisor, Deputy Director, Licensing and Entrepreneuship, NIH Office of Technology Transfer

Steven M. Ferguson currently serves as the Deputy Director, Licensing and Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining NIH Office of Technology Transfer in 1990, Mr. Ferguson served in marketing and management positions in biomedical firms subsequent to being a scientist at the National Cancer Institute. His healthcare experience has also included work as Director of Marketing and Public Relations for a rural 70-bed hospital. Registered to practice before the USPTO and a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP), Mr. Ferguson also holds Master's Degrees in Business Administration (George Washington University) and Chemistry (University of Cincinnati) as well as Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry (Case Western Reserve University). Mr. Ferguson has been an economic reviewer for Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) as well as the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) grant programs and is an instructor for both the USDA Graduate School and the NIH FAES Graduate School where he is also the department chair for the new Certificate in Technology Transfer Program. Mr. Ferguson was also the Susan T. and Charles E. Harris Visiting Lecturer at the Watson School of Biological Sciences at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and has published articles on licensing and technology transfer issues.

Dawn Hocevar, CEO and President, BioCT

Dawn Hocevar is President & CEO at BioCT. She was the 2017 President and Board Chair of Women In Bio and had various roles with Women In Bio including: fundraising, national program chair and helped establish Women In Bio’s Boardroom Ready program. She was also Vice President, Business Development with BioSurplus where she worked closely with BIO and affiliates across the country helping to grow vendor programs and membership. With BioSurplus, she seeded and built business platforms in San Francisco as well as Boston and the New England area including Connecticut. She excels in building relationships and her vast network adds tremendous value to her work with BioCT. She has experience in distribution, sales, management and marketing with her 20 years working with Fisher Scientific. She obtained her BS in Microbiology and Chemistry from San Jose State University and worked at Stanford University for six years prior to joining Fisher Scientific.

Maurice Jones, CEO and President, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

Maurice A. Jones was appointed CEO and President of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in September of 2016. LISC is one of the country’s largest organizations supporting projects to revitalize communities and catalyze economic opportunity for residents. Prior to joining LISC, Maurice was the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia where his primary job was to utilize Virginia’s assets to solidify its position as the preeminent place to live, work and conduct business. Maurice previously served as Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from April 2012 through January 2014. As the second most senior official at HUD, Maurice managed the Department's day-to-day operations, the annual operating budget of $40 billion and the agency's 8,900 employees.

Maurice also served as the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services and Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner. Other positions include: Special Assistant to the General Counsel at the U.S. Treasury Department, Legal Counsel to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and Director of the Fund during the Clinton Administration, Associate Attorney at Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Virginia, and Partner at Venture Philanthropy Partners.

Maurice received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hampden-Sydney College and attended Oxford University in England on a Rhodes Scholarship, where he received a Master of Philosophy in International Relations. He later received a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia.

Nancy J. Kelley, President and CEO, Nancy J Kelley & Associates

Nancy J Kelley is a senior executive and lawyer with exceptional leadership ability and management skills. She has over twenty years of executive management and board experience in starting, growing, and restructuring organizations, raising capital, recruiting diverse management teams, creating and implementing strategic plans, developing real estate, developing internet based information platforms, data warehouses and marketing/branding. She has a particularly deep understanding of the healthcare, life science and research fields and has in-depth knowledge of the related legal, business, government, non-profit and academic sectors.

Ms Kelley served as the Founding Executive Director of the New York Genome Center. From its establishment in 2010 by its 11 Institutional Founding Members, she led the Center from a start up to a fully operational, world class genomics research center and provider of cutting edge sequencing and bioinformatics services, raising $110 million to do so. Many of NYGC’s foundational elements, such as its Pilot Laboratory at Rockefeller University, the NYGC Innovation Center, and key clinical and technology partnerships, were established under her leadership. Ms. Kelley oversaw the selection and build out of NYGC’s permanent facility at 101 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, which opened in September, 2013. She also recruited a large scientific and management team as well as several of the Center’s Associate Members.

Joel S. Marcus, Executive Chairman & Founder, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.

Joel S. Marcus is Executive Chairman and Founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE), an urban office REIT that pioneered the life science real estate niche in 1994 and remains the longest-tenured owner, operator, and developer uniquely focused on collaborative life science, technology, and agtech campuses in AAA innovation cluster locations. Mr. Marcus co-founded Alexandria as a garage startup with $19 million in Series A capital and, as its Chief Executive Officer for 20 years, from March 1997 to April 2018, led its growth into an S&P 500 company with a total market capitalization of over $18 billion and a total shareholder return of approximately 1,350% from the company’s May 1997 IPO to December 31, 2017. Alexandria reached its 20th anniversary as an NYSE listed REIT in May 2017. As of December 31, 2019, the company has a total market capitalization exceeding $26 billion and a total shareholder return of over 1,700%. Alexandria was named the NAIOP 2019 Developer of the Year and is a four-time Gold winner of the Nareit Investor CARE (Communications and Reporting Excellence) Award.

Mr. Marcus serves on the boards of Applied Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:APLT), Intra-Cellular Therapies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITCI), MeiraGTx Holdings plc (NASDAQ:MGTX), Boragen Inc., Frequency Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:FREQ), the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), Scripps Research, the Emily Krzyzewski Center, the National Medal of Honor Museum, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the Navy SEAL Foundation, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, the Partnership for New York City, and Robin Hood. Additionally, he is a member of the MIT Corporation’s Visiting Committee for the Department of Biology.

Mr. Marcus was named one of Real Estate Forum’s 2017 Best Bosses in commercial real estate and was previously a recipient of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award (Los Angeles – Real Estate). Mr. Marcus earned his undergraduate and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Mark Romney, Chief Strategy Officer, Aggie Square – University of California, Davis

Mark Romney joined the University of California, Davis in 1991 and currently serves as the Director of Research Development & Industry Alliances for UC Davis Health (comprised of the Medical Center, School of Medicine and School of Nursing and Practice Management Board). Mark has over 27 years of leadership experience in higher education master planning, with an emphasis in research and industry planning and development initiatives.

Mark is a highly sought after thought leader in the field of public, private and university partnerships. He is invited to share his expertise around the globe presenting at conferences. Mark also served as host and closing speaker at the U.S. Department of Commerce SelectUSA Advance Tour Event (2017) hosting scientific collaboration discussions and providing the keynote presentation of the proposed UC Davis Aggie Square to the U.S. Embassy, Beijing Commercial Services officers and a delegation of senior representatives from over 25 Chinese life sciences, real estate development and real estate investment companies. The SelectUSA Investment Summit is the highest-profile event dedicated to promoting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the United States, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Commercial Services Division.

Mark has successfully attracted significant resources to key initiatives of UC Davis. Most recently, Mark has coauthored multiple State and Federal construction grants (NIH-C06 and CIRM) providing the University with over $30,000,000 in extramural funding for the renovation of existing buildings and development of new state of the art research facilities.

Mark’s passion and proficiency in facilitating collaborations between industry and academia resulted in the adsorption of all eligible industry partner space on the Sacramento Campus (over 50,000 square feet). His efforts motivated UC Davis Health Leadership to launch the new research park planning and development effort, known as Aggie Square, which has already garnered national attention for the University and Sacramento. What began as a UC Davis Health initiative was transformed into a UC Davis wide initiative through the vision of the then new UC Davis Chancellor, Gary May, who envisioned creating a similar environment to Georgia Tech’s Technology Square in Atlanta of which he was involved with while Dean of the Engineering School. Chancellor May encouraged Mark to engage with leadership throughout the University in the effort to identify colleges and schools on the Davis Campus that would benefit from joining Aggie Square. Through Mark’s efforts, Aggie Square has grown to over 2,500,000 square feet, has garnered endorsement and collocation interests by the other schools and colleges on the Davis Campus, many midsize and Fortune 500 companies (both domestic and international), as well as endorsement and $2,800,000 in financial support from the Mayor and City Council of Sacramento, the State of California Legislature, and the US Congressional Representatives.

Stephen Susalka, PhD, CLP, RTTP, Chief Executive Officer, AUTM

Steve works to ensure that AUTM serves the needs and interests of its members through strategic planning, outreach and advocacy, while empowering Association members and promoting the profession. A regular speaker on technology transfer issues, Steve has presented on Capitol Hill and internationally on topics ranging from the evolution of the technology transfer profession to start-up formation.  Before joining AUTM, Steve served as Associate Director for Commercialization at Wake Forest Innovations where he was responsible for commercializing high-impact inventions, and drafting, negotiating and executing a wide variety of licensing and start-up transactions. Steve is a registered U.S. Patent Agent and a past Board member of multiple Wake Forest-affiliated start-ups. Steve has also led the Winston-Salem Technology Council to retain and grow local technology businesses to strengthen the economy.

Catherine E. Vorwald, Director of Life Science, Sterling Bay

Catherine oversees the development and operations of the company’s growing life sciences portfolio. Prior to joining Sterling Bay, Catherine was the Associate Vice Provost for technology development at the Illinois Institute of Technology responsible for their technology park and intellectual property effort. She spent six years as Director of Business Development for Wexford Science & Technology working on marketing and leasing initiatives for several Wexford property locations. Catherine has marketing and business development experience at companies ranging from startups to Fortune 200, has academic research experience at the NIH and the University of California, San Francisco, and has intellectual property technology transfer experience at Stanford and Johns Hopkins Universities. Catherine holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from The Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Science Degree from Georgetown University and a Bachelor Degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Paul Zielinski, Executive Director, Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC)

Paul Zielinski is the Executive Director of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC), where he leads support for more than 300 federal agencies, laboratories and research centers to accomplish their joint mission to foster commercialization best practices and accelerate federal technologies out of the labs and into the marketplace.

Prior to this role, Paul served for more than 30 years as a federal manager, engineer and scientist. More recently, Paul served as the Director of the Technology Partnerships Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), leading NIST’s technology transfer activities including patents, licenses, cooperative research and the NIST Small Business Innovation Research Program. He also led interagency technology transfer policy issues including serving as the Co-Chair of the National Science and Technology Council Lab-to-Market Subcommittee, Chair of the Interagency Workgroup for Technology Transfer and the Interagency Workgroup for Bayh-Dole, and two terms as the Chair of the FLC.

Mr. Zielinski also worked at other federal agencies in the development and deployment of technology, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. He has served on active duty as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army including duty in Korea, Panama, Germany and the United States. Mr. Zielinski earned an MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland, a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Toledo, and an MBA with a specialization in Entrepreneurship from Northcentral University.